Today was a good day. Though I wasn’t sure I’d survive based on the first forty-five minutes. The girls woke up and ate. Then Agatha wanted to play Ella’s game (no this isn’t where she asked for the shotgun).
Ella didn’t mind, until Agatha started making up rules. Ella did NOT want Agatha to play her game that way. So Ella decided to join in, but insisted on being the one making up rules. Agatha was… unimpressed.
Ella decided if she couldn’t be in charge, she didn’t want to be around. She wanted shows.
Most of the time I have no issue allowing shows, but something told me that wouldn’t be a good idea. Instead I offered more cuddles and asked Ella to choose something else (If she would have insisted I wouldn’t have said ‘NO’ to shows). I ticked off a list of choices. She decided on crafts. So I pulled out our craft bin, and pretty much anything I could find that might be used to build something. Ella started sifting through everything until she found the items she needed to make what she wanted.
She turned to me and politely asked, “Mommy, can I have the shotgun?”
I was at a loss. First, we don’t even own a shotgun, or any gun for that matter. In fact I’m not even sure where she’s heard of one before. And why she wanted one for craft time was beyond me.
In case you’re wondering, a low temp glue gun still burns if you touch it. Sigh. Ella figured that out pretty quick. I, on the other hand, am covered in burns. But two hours of our morning were spent happily creating. Ella was so proud that she used one of my tools all by herself and Agatha was ecstatic with her new toy.
Okay, I did the bird, but Agatha very carefully supervised to make sure it was done right. She was busy painting and colouring at the same time. Sponges, bubble wrap, fingers, and crayons were the mediums that allowed her to turn out colourful masterpieces.
The girls were both happy to create what they wanted without anyone telling them what to do, that they needed to do it a different way. They were happy to create without anyone warning them to be neat and tidy (clean-up only took a few minutes more than my normal morning clean).
At home, I’ve never really tried telling them how to do a craft, but at playgroups, or the brief stint at playschool, the children are always told (not by me) what to create, and how to create it. The playschool even went so far as to have someone ‘help’ the child make sure everything was done properly. It drove me nuts.
I much prefer allowing creative lisence and giving them the trust to use some items that might be considered too dangerous for them. Agatha loves to cut, but child safety scissors suck. They don’t cut at all. So out come my shears. She loves them and hasn’t cut herself, yet. Ella likes to glue, but white glue is messy and really doesn’t hold. Glue sticks are fun, but again they can only hold so much, and once the glue comes out of the tube it’s too sticky to deal with. Hot glue, however, can hold heavier items together and lets her actually play with her finished product, rather than just setting it on a shelf to stare at.
Children need the opportunity to stretch their abilities. They need to know a parent trusts them to try, is there to help them if they need it. Waiting to allow a child to use certain items until they’re ‘old enough’ doesn’t prevent injury, it just postpones it. In the meantime the limitations are stifling, creating is less fun, and there is less pride in the finished product.
What have you allowed your children to do that others might find too dangerous for the age?
Have your children mixed up words in a humorous way? Please share.